Picture it, four kids and a teacher from a rural town touch down in the beautiful city of Cancun, Mexico. The only one not groaning about the extremely hot and humid temperatures is the whitest kid there: Me. All the others had been before, and I had not. I could barely contain myself as our leader and teacher, Senora Maldonado begins to explain a bit about Cancun’s history to us.
We continued on to the bus, where we joined a whole lot of other kids from Ohio. I was fortunate enough to get a window seat, and couldn’t contain my awe for the scenery around me. We were passing by a jungle, A JUNGLE! In the middle of the city! It was hard to believe, after living in a valley for most of your life where the only interesting thing was the Snake River, and its interesting factor was debatable. As we came into the greater part of Cancun, I took pictures of the statues and the old, crumbling buildings we passed by.
The first thing we did at the hotel was go to the beach right behind it. The Mediterranean was definitely the most beautiful sea I’ve ever seen. It had blues and greens to it that changed as you moved. Not only that but it was warm! I made a sandcastle, just like a little kid, but I didn’t care. I was having fun.
The next day we explored the city of Merida, which is a tiny city outside of Cancun. It houses the oldest cathedral in the western hemisphere, which we actually got to go inside of! It was absolutely beautiful to see the age-old architecture and the beautiful stained glass. After that, we went to Merida town hall where we learned about the history of the small town. To end the day, we went to the beach again and watched the sunset. A magical ending to a wonderful day.
The next day we traveled to our second hotel in the town of Valladolid. That day we visited what is called a cenote, or a bottomless well. They are dated back to Mayan culture, where they were used frequently. The one we visited was underground, and we even swam in it! It was so scary being in the water, and knowing there was no known bottom. The water was crystal clear, and gradually got darker and darker; quite a terrifying experience if you ask me!
That night, we attended the Sunday festivities in the town square. Mariachis sang to us as we ate ice cream and danced. It was so fun, exciting, and different. On the third day, we traveled to a restaurant out in the middle of the jungle. There we ate what is called, “Mayatecan”, a mix of traditional Mayan and Yucatan food. They took a whole chicken, rubbed it in spices, and cooked it underground for six hours! And it was absolutely delicious!
On our last day we arrived in the city of Playa del Carmen, a city right near the sea. It was a beautiful city with the best shopping around. And that’s what we did! We then went to the ruins of Chichen-Itza and Tulum. They were so beautiful and mystical, I never wanted to leave. When it was time to go home, I was sad. However, I perked up, as I knew I would never forget my time in Mexico.
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